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Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own

"Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own" is the second single from U2's 2004 album, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. Originally titled "Tough", the song is about Bono's relationship with his dying father. The song was released as a single in the United Kingdom on 7 February 2005 and debuted at #1 on the UK Singles Chart. The song won "Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" and "Song of the Year" at the 2006 Grammy Awards.


The lyric was written by lead singer Bono as a tribute to his father, Bob Hewson, who died in 2001; Bono sang this at his funeral. The video to the song begins with a note from Bono about his father, saying "I wish I'd known him better."

The song was released worldwide on February 7, 2005. The song was added to BBC Radio 1's "C List" Playlist on 29 December 2004. It moved to the B List a week later and to the A List a week after that. The song was also playlisted by XFM. The song debuted at #1 in the UK, marking the first time that a U2 album has produced two UK #1 hits (following "Vertigo" in November 2004.)

The single was also the third release in the United States. It reached #15 on the Adult Top 40 chart and #29 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart in April 2005. It also reached #97 on the Hot 100.

The Complete U2 features a demo version of the song with a different verse but without the falsetto chorus line. On the album's deluxe edition bonus DVD is an acoustic performance of the song by Bono and The Edge.

It was featured on the second season of The O.C., episode 4, titled "The New Era". It was also featured on the Ugly Betty episode "I See Me, I.C.U.". It played after it was revealed that Bradford Meade, father of Daniel Meade died, drawing parallels to the song's concept.

Track listings


  1. "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" (96 BPM Radio Edit) (4:51)
  2. "Fast Cars" (Jacknife Lee Mix) (3:28)


  1. "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" (96 BPM Radio Edit) (4:51)
  2. "Ave Maria" (Jacknife Lee Mix) (3:35)
  3. "Vertigo" (Redanka Power Mix) (7:32)

CD3 Japan

  1. "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" (96 BPM Radio Edit) (4:51)
  2. "Fast Cars" (Jacknife Lee Mix) (3:28)
  3. "Vertigo" (Trent Reznor Remix) (3:38)
  4. "Vertigo" (Redanka Power Mix) (7:32)
  5. "Ave Maria" (Jacknife Lee Mix) (3:35)


  1. "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" (Live from HQ, November 16 2004) (Video) (5:15)
  2. "Vertigo" (Video) (3:11)
  3. "Sometimes You Can't Make it On Your Own" (Album Version) (Audio) (5:05)
  4. "Vertigo" (Trent Reznor Remix) (Audio) (3:38)


Chart (2005) Peak
Canadian Singles Chart 1
Latvian Airplay Chart 1
Portuguese Singles Chart 1
Spanish Singles Chart 1
UK Singles Chart 1
Chinese Singles Chart 2
Danish Singles Chart 2
Dutch Singles Chart 2
Irish Singles Chart 3
Norwegian Singles Chart 6
Chilian Singles Chart 12
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 19
German Singles Chart 23
Swedish Singles Chart 24
U.S. Billboard Adult Top 40 15
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 29
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 87
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 97


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